Cafe Racer – “Faces”
By Jay Armstrong
With “Faces” we get the first chance at measuring our expectations against reality for the upcoming Cafe Racer album, Shadow Talk. A single song is dangerous for making bold sweeping predictions but this one being wrapped firmly in instrumentation, at the very least, puts to rest the fears of the pop tangent they have thus far carried with care not becoming their focus to the point of making them safe. Thank god.
“Faces” is a mature reimagining of “Pretty Trash,” the opening track from 2018’s Famous Dust. Like digging boxes out of the closet and finding that leather jacket we thought lost all winter, slipping this one on makes for a good walk around the block with the cool comfort of familiarity. As far as I am concerned, Every decent band out of Chicago either sounds like Flesh Panthers or Thunders—I apologize to no one—those are the two baramoters of the city. This single has them shedding fully the Flesh Panthers proxied skin (ie, “Time To Try” from Famous Dust and pretty much their entire self-titled) which brings about a whole lot of Thunders seeping through the cracks; obviously, the comparison to either band aligns only to the point of if both were on tranquilizers and in far less of a hurry to get out of the basement.
“Faces” is a notable step for Cafe Racer. I sure hope they remember how to rock n roll though. It seems like the last riding good time that came off their block was out of the Jollys like two years ago. The same can be said at this moment for nearly everywhere that is not Australia. It is concerning. This band use to cut loose, now it is just bubbling bong music. Considering how solid what they create in lieu of sweat is, I cannot but believe this reflects my own tastes more than that of the collective—I mean, if everyone is doing it and all that. Right? Bias aside, this band taking the chill way out is not an issue—how could we find Famous Dust ideal if this were not the case? One can imagine “Faces” representing the band turning down the sheets for us to climb into bed with them; I for one already have one of my boots off in anticipation of going heels to Jesus.
The new album Shadow Talk, due out on May 8th, has the band working for the first time with the eclectic Born Yesterday Records (Beret/FCKR JR/Drool). Cafe Racer have found a comfortable place in the cosmos with the time about right for arriving at a new stage of awareness brought in their direction. Let us hope it gives them the traction they need to stay out on the road and make things happen.